Redevelopment of the historic Lion Brothers Building near the University of Maryland BioPark is a powerful sign of continuing revitalization in West Baltimore. The former factory at South Poppleton and Hollins streets is set to reopen in December, and already has lined up tenants for two-thirds of its 37,500 square feet of space.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 17, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay A. Perman, MD, thanked James L. Hughes, MBA, UMB's chief enterprise and economic development officer and president of the corporation that operates the BioPark, for his leadership in creating “a thriving innovation district.” Perman added that the University has been focusing on extending the benefits of the BioPark out into the community, to help create more jobs, opportunity, and vitality in West Baltimore.
“That’s why we opened our Community Engagement Center in the park last year. It’s why we’ve been working so closely with Michael Seipp and the Southwest Partnership.” Seipp is the executive director of the Southwest Partnership, a coalition of seven West Baltimore neighborhoods that includes Hollins Market, where the Lion Brothers Building is located.
Earlier this year an agreement was reached between the BioPark and Cross Street Partners, the developer of the Lion Brothers Building, fully integrating the building into the BioPark and dealing with issues such as security and parking. Cross Street also will contribute to the BioPark’s community fund.
Initially, tenants will include:
Enterprise Homes (Baltimore offices). Co-founded by Jim and Patty Rouse, Enterprise Homes has helped create 14,000 affordable homes in Baltimore City, including hundreds in Southwest Baltimore.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County. UMBC’s Intermedia and Digital Arts graduate (MFA) program is currently at 1100 Wicomico St., but is looking for space that’s more connected to the community.
Baltimore Community Lending is a U.S. Treasury-certified nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, providing loans for affordable housing, community facilities, and mixed-use developments in underserved Baltimore City neighborhoods.
Cross Street Partners also will lease about 6,800 square feet.
The total cost of the renovation will be $11.7 million. Some of the funding includes historic tax credits and a state grant. For more information, see this story in The Baltimore Sun.